One of the Patagonian provinces, Santa Cruz is roughly the size of the United Kingdom. The province is home to the Perito Moreno Glacier, one of South America’s most recognized landmarks. As the visitor journeys westward and climbs the foothills of the Andes, the land’s mountain-perched lakes offer great opportunities for hiking, fishing and gazing awestruck across the breathtaking landscapes.
Culturally, the province is home to Argentina’s pioneering ranch culture, with sheep ranches established in the nineteenth century by Scottish and Irish immigrants. Many of them still operate uninterrupted today.
- Population: 338,000
- Area: 243,943 km²
- Capital: Río Gallegos
- Top export: Precious metals
Perito Moreno Glacier’s majesty and natural beauty make it the most visited landmark in Santa Cruz and one of the most iconic sites in Argentina. Surrounding the white-blue glacier are pine forests and sagebrush-carpeted valleys. Visitors of all ages can enjoy the sights and sounds of the living glacier by taking a boat trip on Lake Argentina or don ice cleats to trek on the glacier itself, culminating in a traditional whisky on the rocks with glacial ice.
Los Antiguos is a small town on the shores of Lake Buenos Aires: the second-largest in South America. The glacier-fed body of water straddles both Argentina and Chile, drains into the Pacific Ocean and is a home for salmon, trout and perch.
El Chaltén is located at the foot of Argentina’s most visually recognized peak: Mount Fitz Roy. As trekkers climb the rugged terrain, they encounter hidden mountain lakes which perfectly reflect the topography and changing skies.
Cueva de las Manos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, off the beaten track, but well worth a visit. The paintings on the walls are hand prints in vibrant autumnal colours and date back some 9,000 years.